Pakistani passenger jet 'exploded in mid air' during thunderstorm killing all 127 people on board

  • 32-year-old former British Airways Jet crashed three miles from airport
  • Pilot made mayday call to report fuel tank had caught fire
  • Airline had just resumed operations after 11 years due to financial difficulties
  • Company boss blocked from leaving country as criminal investigation is launched

A Pakistani passenger jet crashed killing all 127 people on board after its fuel tanks exploded in mid air during a heavy thunderstorm.
In a mayday call made moments before the disaster, the pilot of the stricken Bhoja Air Boeing 737 reported a fuel tank had caught fire and that the plane was out of control.
He asked controllers at Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto international airport for help as he prepared for an emergency landing, saying he could see the roofs of homes but not the runway.

Wreckage from the 32-year-old jet, which first saw service with British Airways, was scattered across a wide area in fields about three miles from the airport.

A report by Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said the aircraft had been properly positioned as it began its approach but suddenly descended to 200 feet while still travelling at 300 miles an hour. It then descended a further 50 feet more before its tanks exploded,

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has ordered a judicial investigation into the accident.

Given the violent storm lashing Islamabad during the accident, some experts have speculated that 'wind shear,' sudden changes in wind that can lift or smash an aircraft into the ground during landing, may have been a factor.
Speaking at the scene of the crash, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that Farooq Bhoja, head of Bhoja Air, had been put on the 'exit control list,' meaning he can't leave Pakistan. Such a ban is often put on someone suspected or implicated in a criminal case.
Malik said, 'It is being said that the aircraft was pretty old, so it has been ordered to investigate thoroughly the air worthiness of the Bhoja Air aircraft.'
'The causes will be investigated, whether it was any fault in the aircraft, it was lightning, the bad weather or any other factor that caused the loss of precious lives,' he said. The plane's flight data recording systems, key to any investigation, have been recovered.


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